The European Smaller Companies and UK Smaller Companies sectors had the best returns over one year to December 31, up 31% on average. They were followed closely by the Global Smaller Companies investment trust sector which returned 28%.The £13m Trust of Property Shares was the best performer last year among AITC member trusts, returning 63.9%. The trust, managed by Adam Cohen, invests 85% of its portfolio in listed UK property companies and was also one of the top five investment trusts over three and five years. According to Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at the AITC, interest in the property sector has increased recently. Many investors are also interested in the governments plans to introduce property investment funds. Over the longer term, however, several trusts within the Far East and Emerging Europe sectors posted the best returns. The £23m Aberdeen New Thai investment trust returned 250% over three years, while the £118m JP Morgan Fleming Russian investment trust was the best performer over five years, returning 368%. The Baring Emerging Europe investment trust grew 716.9% over 10 years, the best return during that period. The worst performing investment trust sectors last year were North America, Biotechnology/Life Sciences, Tech Media & Telecomm, Japan and Financials which all returned an average of zero in 2004. On average, returns from conventional investment trusts were up 13% in 2004, says the AITC.